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Wild Food Journal

Send Red Clover On Over…



(Trifolium pratense)

Red clover flowers are dotting the roadsides right now with their cheerful pink and magenta hues. Though not native, these naturalized flowers have many amazing uses from food to medicine. They contains a wide array of vitamins and minerals, as well as beneficial phytochemicals like isoflavones. Isoflavones are a type of flavonoids found in plants that act like estrogen. These phytoestrogens exert a weak estrogenic effect due to their ability to bind to estrogen receptors.

These chemicals are present in many pea family members, like kudzu! This is of special interest to women in relieving the symptoms of menopause and providing protection against osteoporosis by helping to maintain bone density. These compounds have even been shown in studies to have the potential to prevent breast cancer.

The flowers have a sweetness to them and are lovey sprinkled over salads, brewed into a fragrant tea or, my favorite, battered in pancake batter and fried up. Dust them in powdered sugar and BAM, you’ve got red clover fritters. Not health food for sure, but who doesn’t need a treat once in awhile?

Be sure if you are drying these flower heads for tea to dry them completely, especially in our damp, Appalachian climate, as they are prone to molding if kept damp for too long. SO go pick flowers and eat, drink or heal with them!

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